The seventh commandment is all about sacred relationships and honoring one’s spouse. We discussed yesterday how this applies to everyone. You don’t have to be married to know that we ought to keep our hearts pure at all times! Sins like lust can affect so many different people, and if we are being honest with ourselves, it is often a daily battle to maintain a pure heart. Lust in particular is such a widespread problem in our world today because of how common it is in daily life.
At the root of lust is a simple, yet dangerous and sinful belief. It is the assumption that we should treat other people as objects.
Ideally, we would all realize that everyone is loved by God and equal in this regard. Every one of us is broken and in need of God’s grace. All people have the freedom to chose Christ. But instead of seeing others as created in God’s image, the impurity of lust tempts us to view them as objects for our own use. Rather than viewing another person as a human being, when we treat them as an object, we come to believe they are less than human.
This objectification occurs anytime we forsake the covenant of marriage. Obviously this is the case for someone with a lot of power taking advantage of someone else–perhaps a business executive or politician who believes that moral rules don’t apply and he or she bullies someone to keep quiet. Objectification is also at play when a spouse begins to look to another person for gratification–whether that be a physical or emotional affair–believing that the “cheated-on” spouse is simply an object with no use.
And tragically, perhaps the most obvious example of objectification today is how sex is depicted in media. We see this used on commercials to sell products. It is featured on television. Perhaps most damaging, however, is the commodification of sex on the internet. We discussed issues like pornography in our Social Issues bible study last September. I figured it would be worth restating some sobering statistics about lust as it relates to internet media:
- Over 30% of total internet content is pornographic.
- Children are often exposed to these kinds of sites as early as 10-12 years old.
- The majority of adult content features aggression, verbal abuse, or physical abuse. Women are usually the victims of violence and humiliation.
- Adult website usage is linked to anti-social behavior, loss of brain matter, and narcissistic tendencies.
- There is a strong link between child exploitation, human trafficking, and the adult entertainment industry.
For more information and research on this topic, check out Enough Is Enough, an online safety advocacy group.
If you or someone you know is struggling with internet lust in particular, here are a list of resources:
- Fight the New Drug– A new organization supported by even a few celebrities to raise awareness of pornography addiction.
- Covenant Eyes– An accountability program one can easily install to help monitor internet usage.
- X3 Church– An outreach organization to help people exit the adult entertainment industry.
Lust is a very difficult topic in our world today. It can be very tough to honor God’s plan for the intimate, holy covenant of marriage. But above all else, remember that absolutely everyone is created in God’s image. God wants you to have a pure heart and to avoid sins like lust and objectification.